A $50,000 course launch with a tiny audience is TOTALLY possible. I’ve seen it happen with myself, students, and one-on-one clients in the past! This is the story of a particular one-on-one client I had a few years ago who had a $50,000 course launch, even with a small audience. (She literally built her audience from 0 when she was working with me!) Let’s jump into the details!
$50,000 Course Launch with a TINY Audience
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Names and niches have been changed for the purpose of this post!
We’re going to say this client’s name was Suzy, and she wanted to launch a course that teaches other people how to open a restaurant.
That’s a SMALL niche to begin with – someone who wants to open a restaurant requires a LOT of pre-work before they’re ready to buy a course about how to do it.
Sarah had spent years prior to this launch consulting with people who wanted to open restaurants, so she knew the market existed. Still, there’s a lot that has to happen before someone’s ready to open a restaurant and, more specifically, before someone’s ready to invest in a course about doing it. That requires some serious commitment and money.
It was tough to get in front of the people who dream of opening a restaurant and have the money to invest. That’s a small audience that's difficult to reach! If you get in front of only the people who don’t have the money, then your launch isn’t going to be as successful as you hoped.
Sarah didn’t have an audience when she started working to launch a course.
Sarah had been a service-based business and consulted for people up to this point. So she had a lot of audience to build before she launched a course!
She had been charging between $10,000 – $30,000 for people who wanted to open high-end restaurants to fly her in to their location and consult with them on an ongoing basis so she could help them open these restaurants. She had a streamlined system of word-of-mouth recommendations that she knew worked. Which is a very different kind of marketing strategy than one for a course!
The goal was to charge $1,000 for this course in its first iteration. To get to a $50,000 launch, she would need 50 people to buy this course. And she had 0 people in her audience. In fact, she only had 150 people sign up for the webinar that sold the course.
250 people signing up for a webinar USUALLY doesn’t convert to 50 people buying the course. That would be a 20% conversion rate, which is REALLY high for a webinar launch. But, this is the POWER of being really niched.
Sarah wasn’t talking to every single person who ever thought of opening a restaurant. She was talking SPECIFICALLY to an audience of people who are ready to open a restaurant and had started moving pieces toward that goal. And she knew that they were specifically ready because she had targeted them when she built her audience over the four months leading up to launch.
She made $50,000 on a course launch with only 250 people signed up for her webinar.
And if she hadn’t believed in herself and priced the course at $500, she would have only made half the money. Sure, maybe more people would’ve purchased if it was less expensive, but she KNEW her audience. And she had a successful launch because of it.
How did she go from an audience of 0 to a $50,000 course launch?
First, I want to say that a first course launch of any kind that makes $50,000 is amazing! And Sarah definitely hit some hiccups along the way. She had some feelings of self-doubt about the value of the course. And I’m glad I was there to remind her that the course was WORTH $1,000.
All of these moving pieces combined made this launch work for her. The fact that Sarah was REALLY good at what she did, understood her worth and valued the course appropriately, and built the exactly right audience set her up for success. She knew EXACTLY what other people in that position needed to know and positioned the course appropriately. The perfect webinar topic and the way to sell on a webinar sealed the deal.
Sarah needed an audience of people who knew they wanted to open a restaurant and were close to being ready to open one. There’s a fine line between creating content for people who are just dreaming and researching restaurants versus people who have secured a location or have financial backing to get it done. Building the right audience was SO key.
She had to be super specific with how she put herself in front of her audience, because they were difficult to reach. Instagram is cool, but people who have the money and are about to open a restaurant probably aren’t on that platform regularly. But they WERE on Facebook, and on LinkedIn.
During our time together, we really focused on Facebook and Facebook ads. She ran ads that led people into relevant opt-ins. A “how to start a restaurant” opt-in is tailored for a beginner – NOT Sarah’s ideal client. Instead, she offered opt-ins about how to secure financing to start your restaurant. If somebody is to the point where they’re searching for financing opportunities, they’re serious. She also created an opt-in about setting your pricing too. They were higher level free items that fit her exact customer.
Building the RIGHT audience for your offer is key. If you go “back to the basics” but your course is higher level content, you’re attracting the wrong people.
We targeted the age groups who we found were more likely to be serious about starting a restaurant (in this case, 40+ year olds) using Facebook ads. Then we did some testing to figure out what the interests of these people were and narrowed the audience from there.
We tailored Sarah's opt-ins so that she attracted the exact right audience to her email list. Then, we used the email list on Facebook to create a lookalike audience and target even more people.
A lot of people don’t have the additional money to throw behind Facebook ads, or the knowledge on how to set them up. If that sounds like you, I would highly suggest hiring a coach or purchasing a course to help walk you through that process.
If I were working with this client right now, I would recommend small-offer funnels instead
I worked with this client almost 3 years ago. That was around the time I stopped doing client work, which is why this is my example. If this were happening now, instead of offering freebies for Facebook ads, I would ABSOLUTELY recommend leading the Facebook ads to a Small Offer Funnel.
I have a whole podcast episode about that – you can listen online right here!
I currently have a small offer funnel that’s converting like crazy – and I’ve learned more about them even since I did that episode. So you can expect an updated episode all about those sometime soon!
Small offer funnels let you recoup your ad costs AND build your list at the same time – so it’s an actual win-win.
As a recap – we ran Facebook ads to freebies targeting our specific demographics and a lookalike audience to her email list.
She also ran ads reminding people about the webinar to her email list on Facebook
If you have an email list, you can export your list and upload it to Facebook to target those people with your ads. She didn’t leave anything to chance!
The really cool thing about using your email list for Facebook ads is that you can also upload and target your unsubscribers.
In addition to paid ads, she also did a few joint-venture webinars
Joint-venture webinars (JV webinars) are when two people co-host a webinar. One person's audience may benefit more, but the other person is given access to the people who signed up to attend the webinar.
A company with access to her exact ideal client approached her for a webinar. She was able to make connections and get in with this company to do a few joint-venture webinars so that she could get in front of their audience.
Since she showed up as an expert, she would get a list of people who signed up for the webinar. From there, it was really easy to target those people!
If I’m hosting a joint-venture webinar and I want to grow my list, then I’m going to try and get someone to co-host it who has a different list than me. Maybe the person is hosting a webinar about Facebook ads and I can come teach about small-offer funnels. Then I get access to the people who attend, and there’s 500 or so new people for my email list. And vice-versa.
Sarah didn’t have a massive email list at the time, so her currency was her knowledge. And this can apply to SO many of you! You don’t need a massive audience to host a joint-venture webinar – just expertise.
You should NOT approach these people cold. Work on building relationships and trust, and then ask them about potentially hosting a webinar together.
There’s a strategy behind adding those people to your email list in a way that doesn’t weird them out, since they didn’t opt-in directly. I like to send the people who attended an email with a personalized video that introduces me to them again right after the webinar. I’m fresh in their mind and it provides an opportunity for them to either stick with you or unsubscribe.
Sarah also focused on being a guest on podcasts leading up to her launch
She spent 3 solid months being a guest on ALL kinds of podcasts that had her ideal client listening. For some niches, this will be easier to do than others. But showing up in front of your ideal customer as an expert beside someone else that they trust will always help you!
When we started promoting the webinar, HALF of Sarah’s email list signed up
250 of the 500 people on her email list signed up for her webinar when it was announced. That’s absolutely unheard of in this industry! But let me explain why that happened in her situation.
1. Her audience was SUPER warm
In other words, there wasn’t anybody on the list who had a year to forget about who Sarah was. She had only been building her email list for 4 months, so everyone on it was warm.
2. She targeted the EXACT right people.
Sarah did a great job of finding and putting herself in front of the right people for her course. That's why she could have a $50,000 course launch with a tiny audience.
3. In that 4 month time period, she didn’t let her audience forget about her!
Part of the reason her audience was really warm is because she remained consistent in talking to them. Sending weekly emails and sending out freebies kept people on her email list really engaged! You can implement that strategy even if you started your email list 10 years ago.
Basically, Sarah created the perfect storm to get half of her audience to sign up for a webinar. Again – that’s UNHEARD of in our industry.
The industry standard for making sales from an email list is about 2%. Thinking about her sales to email list comparison, she sold about 10%.
When I have a webinar, I can get close to 10% of people to sign up for my webinar. A lot of my email list is old considering I’ve been actively list building since 2016, and I do regular clean outs.
Remember that we ran ads to her email list to remind them about their webinar
This is SO important! You definitely don’t have to run ads if you don’t want to, and you could host a webinar without those reminders. But making sure people on your email list SEE that you’re hosting a webinar means more of them will sign up!
I have a high open rate compared to industry standards. I usually hit between 35-45% opens on an email. But even with that number, that means 55% of people on a good day aren’t seeing my email content! If I can show it to them via Facebook ads, then there’s a higher opportunity they’ll sign up. (I could also recoup some of those missed opens by resending an email, but that still leaves maybe 50% done.)
Plus, imagine what someone does when they DO read your email. Maybe they see something exciting, open it in a new tab and think they’ll do it later but never do. Reminding them to finish it with ads will seal the deal!
I love to do that myself, and I think it’s a great strategy when you’re going to launch anything!
My first course launch was NOT this massive
I had 500 people on my email list, and I sold 8 seats to the course at the time. Only 8.
While she made $50,000 from a list of $500, I only made about $6,000 or $7,000 from a list of 500. But that’s because I didn’t know what I was doing back then! Now I do, and that’s much of the reason I was able to help Sarah.
I hope that was super motivational! You can definitely have a massive course launch with a tiny audience if you use the correct strategy.